edc blog cta

My Recent Taxi Encounter – Finding the MoJo

Pharmacists are always available to answer your questions about drugs. Community pharmacists are on duty 24/7 at some stores, and it is not uncommon for us to get calls related to drugs dispensed at other stores or through the mail. We accept that, although we also complain that mail order does not provide patients with the same level of care as your corner pharmacy.

But sometimes questions take us by surprise. Recently, I attended the National Community Pharmacists Association meeting in National Harbor, MD.  It is a great location for a meeting, just south of D.C. There is a giant ferris wheel and water taxis can take you across to Alexandria or up the Potomac to the national mall or to the restaurants in Georgetown.

I was staying a short distance from the convention center and standing in the sun waiting to ride the bus, when the ‘elite’ taxi pulled up and offered me a ride. I took it.

Community Pharmacists are a Great Resource!

Community Pharmacists are a Great Resource!

I think taxi drivers know that the tips are better when they talk to their riders. So, the driver makes the usual small talk, asks me where I’m from and what I do. Once we established that I was a pharmacist here for the meeting, the discussion picked up.

“Do you know how expensive Viagra is?” Viagra is expensive enough to take some of the fun out of sex for men; nearer to all the fun if you’re an accountant. One of my students recently told me that prescription Viagra are going for around $40 each in Denver. Some older men visit the pharmacy every Friday for just a single tablet – all they can afford. Viagra™ was expected to be available as a generic by now, but that keeps getting delayed in the US.

“You know, we used to get a product for just $10 called MoJo that worked really well, but it doesn’t work so good any more. Why is that?” As it turns out, some of the products marketed as nutritional supplements for male sexual enhancement had been “contaminated” with chemical analogs of sildenafil, the active drug in Viagra™.  The FDA required that these “spiked” products be recalled. To me, this brought into perspective the term “lost your mojo” … apparently Mojo has lost its mojo!

Check with you Community Pharmacists. Nutritional supplements are not prepared under the same requirements as prescription drugs, and over the years there have been reports of nutritional supplements tainted with active drug to make sure they work.

Drugs that are supposed to pep you up are frequently supplemented with caffeine. Contamination has been found more often with products from Asia, and less commonly with natural products from Europe. The USP recently published standards for screening male enhancement products for active drugs. Good news for pure products, bad news for those looking for their mojo.

My taxi driver never did turn on the meter, but still charged me for the ride.

Community pharmacists don’t have a meter running, and will still help you with all your medications. Talk to your community pharmacists about your medications.  Make them work for you. Pharmacists love interesting questions.



  1. http://www.ncpanet.org/
  2. http://www.cdc.gov/phlp/publications/topic/prescription.html


About Dr. Peter J. Rice

Dr. Peter J. Rice is a professor of Pharmacology emeritus at the East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine and Professor of Clinical Pharmacy at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. --------------------------------------------------------------------------He received his BS in pharmacy from Northeastern University, PhD in pharmacology from the Ohio State University and PharmD from the University of Kentucky. He is a Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist and practices in the ambulatory care and community pharmacy settings. Professor Rice is the author of Understanding Drug Action: An introduction to pharmacology (APhA, 2014) and is a fellow of the American Pharmacists Association. --------------------------He welcomes interesting medication questions and suggestions for future columns.